The Cloud Horse Chronicles: Guardians of Magic
Macmillan Children’s Books
I was thrilled to receive a copy of this, Chris Riddell’s first story in a new fantasy series.
The story is set in the kingdom of Thrynne, a place of ancient magic, the source of which is the Forever Tree hidden in the Great Wood.
‘For as long as anyone can remember, children of Thynne have looked at billowing clouds in the sky and wished on a cloud horse, always hoping … But no one has seen a cloud horse.’ That though is about to change …
We meet in turn three ordinary children each from a different town within the kingdom, into whose hands come three magical objects made with wood: to baker Zam Zephyr a runcible spoon;
to cellist Phoebe Limetree a talking cello;
to Bathsheba Greengrass a worpal sword with a carved wooden handle.
And thus it is that these unsuspecting children are destined to be the Guardians of Magic.
But anyone thought to wield the magic of Thrynne is in terrible danger especially from those who have their own reasons to keep that magic at bay: there’s chief rat King Tiberius-Tiberius who terrorises Sam’s home town Troutwine; the ruler of Phoebe’s home, Nightingale is a power-mad Clockmaker with an army of mechanical tin-men; while in Bathsheba’s tree-house town of Beam is Euphemia Goldencurls, a professional Princess who desires to keep alive the lucrative business of giant slaying.
Also cleverly woven into the story are fairy tale characters including a gingerbread man, the Pied Piper and the three bears.
The last section of the book brings together the three children who use their wits against the dastardly characters threatening the magical Forever Tree and the cloud horses that nestle in its branches.
If that’s not enough magic for you, there are also Chris’s awesome, instantly recognisable, detailed illustrations liberally scattered throughout the story, as well as a full colour fold-out guide to the giants of the Great Wood, aerial townscapes and cross-sections of buildings.
The result is an utterly compelling, enchanting and immersive book that you’ll find almost impossible to put down. I can’t wait for the next instalment.